The Flipside of Fear
September 2, 2022
In my first few years of practising yoga, I remember when my yoga teacher would call out THAT arm balance. Suddenly it became the perfect time to towel off and get a drink of water. The teacher said, “Take breaks when you need to”, right?
Do you also find those inner butterflies and the mental swirling that arise when you’re asked to do something new? Anxiety, stress, irritation – all of those negative emotions arise from the root of fear. All fears boil down to the fear of death or loss, whether it’s death as in the loss of our physical body or the death of our ego.
Our Ego Protects Us From The Unknown
When we are confronted with a new thing, we don’t want to do that thing because we think we’ll be bad at it and we’ll lose face. Studies have shown that more people are afraid of public speaking than dying. Quite often, if we don’t feel correct and perfect in every way, our ego will stop us from doing that very thing that we really, really desire to do
Take Yoga Teacher Training, for example. I loved yoga from the beginning and really wanted to learn more and share this practice that has done so much for me, but my fear of not having a “perfect practice” and the trepidation of getting up in front of a yoga class kept me from stepping into this calling at first. Luckily, from the same place fear arises, is the flip side of fear – Trust.
In our yoga practice, we move our bodies and shift our energy. There’s no way this could not shift us. Yoga begins the process of self-reflection showing us who we are, what we want, what we believe, and if those beliefs are limiting us. As we begin to discover more about ourselves, we become more curious and braver. We begin to trust ourselves, and our inner resources, and find our strength to do the challenging things. We learn to trust the process and the practice.
In the case of that arm balance (Crow Pose, by the way), I started practicing it every day in my backyard. Every day. Those fears stayed with me for a long time, but I began to use my techniques, gained more strength, and trusted that I wouldn’t fall on my face – and if I did, I’d still be okay and no one would think less of me. Then one day I caught a flight. It’s my favourite arm balance to this day.
The same thing happened with Yoga Teacher Training. I trusted in the process, studied, and practiced. In that experience, I transformed. I gained inner and outer freedom. The restraints of my fears loosened, and my ego lost its control. My desire to help others with yoga won out over the fears of not being enough and not being perfect
If you wait until yourself/the situation/the time/your practice is perfect, then you’ll never do that thing that you really want to do – whether it’s an arm balance, yoga teacher training, or some other adventure. Trust yourself. Trust the process. Trust the practice, and flip fear on its head